Reforestation may risk water scarcity

To address water scarcity in areas of high water stress, reforestation programmes have been implemented to restore water balance and rainfall. Although research has shown that tree plantations can help replenish groundwater reservoirs and upwelling, reforestation can also exacerbate water scarcity by reducing stream flow.

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some attempts made
past case
Region-1
Region-2
Region-3
Region-4
ongoing case
no attempts made

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Reforestation may risk water scarcity

To address water scarcity in areas of high water stress, reforestation programmes have been implemented to restore water balance and rainfall. Although research has shown that tree plantations can help replenish groundwater reservoirs and upwelling, reforestation can also exacerbate water scarcity by reducing stream flow.

Statistical analyses of 33 years of long-term data from two watersheds in northeastern China showed a significant reduction in summer streamflow as a result of reforestation.

Yao, Y., Cai, T., Wei, X., Zhang, M., & Ju, C. (2012). Effect of forest recovery on summer streamflow in small forested watersheds, Northeastern China. Hydrological Processes, 26(8), 1208-1214. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.8204

Lee, H., & Zhang, L. (2018). Afforestation Increases Water Supply–But Only with These Considerations. SDG Knowledge Hub, UNU-FLORES. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/guest-articles/afforestation-increases-water-supply-but-only-with-these-considerations/

Hoek van Dijke, A.J., Herold, M., Mallick, K. et al. Shifts in regional water availability due to global tree restoration. Nat. Geosci. 15, 363–368 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00935-0 

Jackson, R. B., Jobbágy, E. G., Avissar, R., Roy, S. B., Barrett, D. J., Cook, C. W., … & Murray, B. C. (2005). Trading water for carbon with biological carbon sequestration. science, 310(5756), 1944-1947. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1119282